OPINION: Daring, curious or foolhardy?
PETALING JAYA (The Star/ANN) - It’s hard to understand the motivation for some of the extreme stunts carried out by the Chinese, but they certainly make the headlines.
The Chinese are the world’s bravest people and strong believers in the inspiring quote “If you think you can, you can”.
Their “daring behaviour” has always made them the focus of news reports; some have even risked their lives to prove their “bravery”.
But not everyone is lucky enough to claim victory from the God of Death; many have lost their challenges.
Recently, three people – two women and a man – nearly became tiger food at Changsha Ecological Zoo in China’s Hunan province.
The trio, in their 60s and believed to be related to each other, had climbed from a hill behind the zoo to gain free entry into the park.
They destroyed a fence and jumped into the zoo compound.
Just 50m away from them were seven Bengal tigers, wandering in the open safari.
Luckily the trespassers were spotted in time by security, who rushed to their rescue.
They had saved 130 yuan (RM82) each on the tickets but nearly lost their lives.
Zhang Bin, the zoo’s security chief, said tourists were only allowed to tour the section in the safety of a bus provided by the zoo.
“No one is allowed to go out there,” he added, emphasising that the section had clear danger notices but the trio ignored them.
Earlier this year, a man climbed into a tiger enclosure to play with the big cat at the Ningbo Youngor Zoo.
He was dragged further into the park and mauled to death by a tiger.
In another incident, two women left their car while touring the Badaling Wildlife World in Beijing.
They were attacked by Siberian tigers. One of them died on the spot.
The Chinese believe they can do anything as long as they are determined and do not surrender to the challenge ahead.
Last week, a teenager did not make his way back safely after swimming in heavy seas off Kamala beach, the famous tourist destination at Phuket island in Thailand.
The 18-year-old and two friends had ignored the warnings to swim in the sea and a large wave washed over them.
The beach guards rescued two of them, but the teenager could not be found. His body washed up on the beach the following day.
A day before the incident, four female Chinese tourists, who also ignored the red flag warning not to go swimming, nearly drowned in the sea.
As of May this year, more than 70 Chinese tourists drowned or were injured in the seas of Thailand.
These tourists might think they could fight Mother Nature or that they their lives were worthless.
But if you do not treasure your own life, don’t risk the precious lives of the rescuers trying to save you or at least, don’t cause trouble to others.
The Chinese are also a curious bunch and are fond of learning anything and everything they do not know about.
A female passenger activated an emergency inflatable slide just before a jetliner was about to take off at the Beijing Capital International Airport last Tuesday.
Apparently, the curious woman, whose seat was next to an emergency exit, just wanted to see what would happen if the lever for the emergency slide was pulled, after hearing from the crew that it could only be touched during an emergency.
Her act stunned other passengers and the Xiamen Airlines flight, bound for Xiamen in Fujian province, had to be cancelled.
She was detained for 12 days.
The other 113 passengers on board were reassigned to other flights later the same day.
The woman could also face a fine and huge bills for compensation from the airline company, including losses from flight cancellations and reassignment of passengers.
She could also be asked to pay 100,000 yuan (RM63,000) for fixing the slide and the price could go up to 450,000 yuan (RM284,600) if the airbag inside was damaged.
The released emergency slide has to be inspected and tested for safety by experts before it could be reinstalled.
The removing and installing of the slide takes four engineers about five hours.
Netizens joked that the woman had made the most expensive experiment.
Maybe the woman did not trust the airline crew and wanted to test if the slide was in usable condition in case of an emergency.
No matter what was in her mind, her uncivilised ignorance shamed the country and her countrymen while causing inconvenience to many other travellers.
Such behaviour shown by its people is one major issue China has tried to tackle in recent years.
It has even come out with a list of guidelines to constantly remind its people of the do’s and don’ts when visiting tourist destinations.
The guideline to promote civilised behaviour and observe etiquette included being punctual, being understanding, not speaking loudly, not spitting, not littering or defacing historic treasures.